Pakistan retain U/19 crown after comeback

Pakistan became the first side to retain the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup after a truly remarkable bowling performance brought their side back from the dead against India in Colombo.

They appeared out of the match after their arch-rivals bowled them out for just 109.

However, man of the match Anwer Ali Khan (5-35), Jamshaid Ahmed (2-24) and Akhtar Ayub (3-9) turned things around in spectacular fashion.

Anwer and Jamshaid reduced India to 9-6 in 3.2 breathless overs before the meal break and although India’s lower order dug in after the interval they could not rescue the situation.

India were bowled out for 71 in only 18.5 overs, their lowest total in ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup history, beating the 77 they made against Bangladesh in 2002.

Pakistan’s victory meant they joined Australia (1988 and 2002) as the only sides to win the tournament twice after their previous success in Bangladesh two years ago.

Pakistan’s coach Mansoor Rana said: “All the boys were very dejected (after our innings) and I said to them I had seen wins from such positions and we had a chance.

“I told them the top three India players had got all the runs during the tournament so the law of averages said they were due to fail.

“Then, if we got those three early wickets and got into their middle order under lights with the ball swinging then we could do it.

“But I was only saying it to lift the boys as did not believe it could happen,” he added.

The win means Pakistan join Australia as the only sides to win the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup twice but Pakistan also became the first team to retain the trophy, having won it in Bangladesh two years ago.

“We had that in mind,” said Mansoor. “I said to the boys to go out and make history and they have done it. Their names will be there for the rest of their lives.”

India coach Venkatesh Prasad said: “We have done lots of hard work, we have been winning and winning becomes a habit but this was our one bad day in the past eight months.

“That one off day happened to come in a final but the boys have been simply superb.

“I am really happy with the way they have played, I am proud and I have been amazed at their approach, their commitment and the fact they are such keen learners.”

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